Back 2 Basics Planning Challenge

For the month of November, I’m participating in the Back2Basics Planning Challenge by KateB of KateBTPS in YouTube. To know more about this challenge, take a look at this video:

If you don’t want to watch the video, let me give you a quick summary. The idea of the challenge is simply a no-decoration planning challenge, to demonstrate if we are able to plan without the expensive accessories such as stickers, washi tapes, and stamps. The terms of the (completely optional) challenge is as follows:

  • Weeks 1-2: Absolutely no stickers, no washi tapes, no stamps. However, you are allowed to use an unlimited amount of pens as you like, which you can use to draw your decorations, aside from actually planning with.
  • Week 3: Functional stickers and stamps are now allowed. Examples include water intake trackers, arrow stickers, etc. Washi tape is only allowed if they served a functional role, such as tabs.
  • Week 4: Decorating with stamps is now allowed, along with the functional stickers and stamps. The idea is to use only the items that can be reused.

At the end of each phase, assess how you felt. Were you able to actually plan without all the accessories? Were they actually just extras, or did you find that you could not plan without them? Did you feel like you did not enjoy the planning process without them?

I decided to try this for the month of November, primarily because I was also going to test out the Hobonichi-style planning and was starting with nearly a blank slate. I do feel like I have too many stickers and washi tape, and wanted to see if I can convince myself that I don’t need them to plan with. I am using a passport size Midori refill (unlined) for the whole of this month, on a day-per-page layout.


The monthly layout unfortunately already has a strip of washi tape. I had drawn out this calendar before I saw Kate’s planning challenge, but I would not let that bother me, and I don’t consider this stage a failure. I also had already put a sticker to denote an upcoming wedding, another strip of washi to denote the upcoming APEC event, and a sticker to denote a holiday.

back2basics2 back2basics3 back2basics4 back2basics5 back2basics6

Here are the rest of my planning pages for the first week. I’ve been quite comfortable with just using pens for planning, although I needed to change my approach to my coffee intake tracking. I wrote out the word “coffee” in block letters, and colored in two letters for each cup of coffee I drank. This is now equivalent to my usual stamping of three coffee cups in my previous layouts.

One of the things I felt weird about was all the blank space remaining after the planning parts. Where I would normally slather on stickers or washi tape or stamp away with my stamps, I just tried putting in some brush calligraphy practice. This made me feel better, and now I have all this space to go back to for more calligraphy later on.

I feel like I can comfortably continue on to the rest of the challenge without much difficulty, but I am definitely looking forward to being able to use functional stickers and stamps by Week 3! What did you think of this challenge?

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